PAARL, South Africa, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Robert Rock fought through windy conditions and shot 2-under-par 70 Thursday for the first-round lead at the South African Airways Open.
Rock owns a 1-stroke lead over Charl Schwartzel, Alex Haindl and Ulrich Van den Berg. Another seven players were at even-par 72 after 18 holes.
"It was rewarding and punishing out there," Rock said. "But I'm not bothered by the wind. You have to accept that you're not going to get it as close to the hole as you normally would. This is a week for chipping and putting."
Rock bogeyed his first hole but moved under par with birdies at Nos. 3 and 5. However, he went back over par with bogeys at 7 and 8 and made the turn at even par with a birdie on the ninth hole.
He was much more steady on the back side, combining seven pars with birdies at the par-5 13th hole and the par-4 16th to take the lead.